Treats are in store as Nigella rustles up some of her favourite dishes to share around the table. For a lunch with friends, Nigella’s herbed leg of lamb is relaxingly simple to prepare, served with garlicky roast potatoes with oregano and feta.
That is followed by her voluptuously soft and rich chocolate olive oil mousse. For a delicious snack that is unbelievably moreish, there is Nigella’s coconut shrimp with turmeric yoghurt – hot crisp prawns with a cool smooth dipping sauce. And her favourite dishes like ginger and walnut carrot cake never fails to win over friends and family.
1. Herbed leg of lamb
The fabulous Brazilian pit master and chef, André Lima de Luca, told me about a way he had for slow-cooking a shoulder of pork with (among many other ingredients) oregano, rosemary, orange and lemon. The thought and flavours percolated at the back of my mind for a while – and then I tried cooking a leg of lamb with them last Easter.
2. Ginger and walnut carrot cake
This cake is very different from the richly sweet, loftily layered and aerated American original. While it is in some senses far more reminiscent of an old-fashioned, slightly rustic English teatime treat, it is, with its ginger-spiked cream cheese icing – only on top, not running through the middle as well – just right to bring to the table, in pudding guise, at the end of dinner, too.
3. Chocolate olive oil mousse
I first came across a version of this voluptuously soft, rich chocolate mousse at one of my favourite places to eat in London. Then – as these things tend to happen – I started finding it everywhere. The olive oil doesn’t just bring its resonant flavour to the mousse, it creates its smooth, soft texture. Go for a smooth but still spicy rather than raspingly peppery extra-virgin olive oil, and use the absolute best quality you can.